The Western Athletic Conference continues to be decimated by members fleeing for other conferences. This week alone, Utah State and San Jose State confirmed they were in discussions to join the Mountain West in 2013. Texas-San Antonio says it will leave for Conference USA in 2013, despite having yet to play a game as a member of the WAC. The University of Idaho is one of the few schools remaining, and released this statement about conference re-alignment on Tuesday:
Conference realignment has been a major story in college athletics for several years now. A growing appetite for more funding and a steady flow of television and other media dollars feeding that appetite has resulted in conference alignments and realignments. That uncertainty continues today.
Over the past several weeks, President Nellis and director of athletics Rob Spear have worked actively to advocate for the University during this recent shift in conference realignment. We are disappointed in the recent changes that are driven not by tradition, academic quality, competitiveness, or the student experience, but by money.
Our student-athletes continue high rates of success on and off the field. The Vandals currently are atop the Western Athletic Conference Commissioner's Cup standings and have been rewarded often for their academic successes.
We believe our strong presence in the Northwest media markets is being overlooked during this crucial evaluation period. We are a presence in both the Spokane and Boise media markets, which extends our reach throughout the entire Inland Northwest.
As we anticipate future conference movement, we continue to believe strongly that athletes are students first and the experience for them and our fans is first and foremost. We will continue to work diligently to most strongly position the University of Idaho.